Opposition: Makhura’s speech a ‘pie in the sky’
While Gauteng’s ANC had praise and glory for Premier David Makhura’s State of the Province Address, opposition parties weren’t impressed.
The official opposition in the provincial legislature, the Democratic Alliance, said Makhura’s speech was “Pie in the sky mega rolls royce promises which will come to nought”.
DA provincial leader John Moodey said the state of e-tolls remained an “elephant in the room throughout Makhura’s address”.
“He kept tap dancing around the issue when the people of Gauteng have spoken loudly. We don’t want e-tolls,” he said.
The controversial topic of e-tolling on Gauteng’s highway took centre stage in Makhura’s first State of the Province Address last year where he vowed to investigate the socio-economic effects of the system and implement reforms.
In Monday’s address Makhura said the consultation processes led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa into what is to be done are yet to be concluded.
“The final decision in this regard, will be made once work of the inter-governmental team is completed. I am confident honourable members that the new dispensation will provide major financial relief to motorists while simplifying the payment system to make it easy for road users to pay.”
But Moodey said he believed this is not good enough.
“Premier Makhura has to call a referendum on the matter,” he said.
Trade union federation Cosatu in the province, who have vehement in their opposition to e-tolls, said they were not disappointed with Makhura’s lack of resolve on the e-tolling matter.
“We are quite satisfied. We understand the work involved in getting rid of e-tolls and it is not an easy thing,” said Cosatu provincial leader Dumisane Dakile.
He said Cosatu was confident that “in due course” Makhura would make announcement bringing an end to eTolls.
While Dakile was not critical of Makhura’s e-toll stance, he said he was disappointed that the premier did not announce the banning of labour brokers.
“The premier had to announce a complete ban of labour brokers so workers would not be exploited,” he said.
Moodey noted that all of Makhura’s economic plans were “old programmes rehashed under new names”.
In line with the provinces 10-pillar programme of radical transformation, mordernisation and re-industrialisation, Makhura promised an injection of billions of rands into several initiatives around all major regions in the province.
He said his administration was planning to reconfigure the Gauteng city region’s space and economy along five development corridors that have distinct industries and different comparative advantages.
“For a long time the same thing was called economic hubs. Now it is called corridors. It is the same old idea,” Moodey said.
He said there was nothing new in Makhura’s speech.
The EFF, who disrupted Makhura’s speech at least three times, insisted that Makhura misled the public.
“We are raising the issue that the premier has misled the public,” said EFF provincial spokesperson Ntobeng Ntobeng.
At the same time the ANC in the province welcomed Makhura’s plans for the province.
“The ANC appreciates the radical departure of the premier’s speech from a compartmentalised plan based on the work of departments to a collaborative vision for the Gauteng City Region as a whole, anchored on accelerating economic growth along the five Development Corridors.
“This approach ensures that no person in the Gauteng City Region is left behind but that there is balanced economic growth, employment creation and empowerment for all people of our province,” said ANC provincial secretary Hope Papo.
He added in a statement that the party condemns the EFF’s disruption of Makhura’s speech.
“As the ANC, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the attempted disruption of the Premier’s speech by a small number of EFF MPLs who have nothing of substance to say and offer the people of Gauteng.”
Article first published by www.mg.co.za